Streaming has revolutionized the internet, and blockchain can help take it to the next level.
The internet arguably was the single greatest technology innovation of the modern era, and has unleashed waves prosperity, information sharing, as well bringing barriers down across the world. Clearly there are also downsides to the internet that run the gamut from criminal activity, the deliberate sharing of misinformation, and other negative trends. Reflecting how influential the internet has become, even blockchain has been labeled by some as the Internet 2.0 or as a trustless version of the internet.
Alongside the rise in prominence of blockchain and crypto, the breakthrough of streaming services and the ability of individuals to stream themselves has been impossible to miss. Once limited by network capacity, computer speed, and access to specialized equipment, streamers and other vloggers are now routinely cited as some of the popular people on the internet. The very idea of a social media influencer was unheard of until the last several years; with this growth also comes the question as to how individuals can successfully monetize and further grow the streaming segment.
Before diving into the future of blockchain for streaming, let’s take a look at a few organizations that are already changing the game around how streaming, blockchain, and crypto intersect. BitTorrent, already known for tokenizing file sharing, has recently launched a blockchain to accommodate live streaming events. Audius, although contending with allegations of hosting large amounts of pirated material – not unlike previous startups such as earlier incarnations of Napster – is using a blockchain based platform aimed to help indie artists break into the mainstream. Finally, VideoCoin is using a blockchain based platform to help allow artists, entertainers, and creators to distribute content at lower rates than otherwise might be available. The future of the internet is here, and the dual evolution of blockchain and streaming services is a big part of it. Now let’s take a look at what future developments and applications in this space might look like.
Making streaming pay
Financing mechanisms already exist for compensating streamers and the like, but if those mechanisms are controlled or governed by a centralized entity, or the opinion expressed by the individual run counter to other views, the risk of deplatforming is real. Far from being a nuisance or minor inconvenience, there is a very real risk that an individual’s livelihood could be taken away simply due to changing opinions.
Blockchain and crypto are not controlled by a centralized entity, and might find a lucrative use case for compensating streamers and streaming organizations. Let’s take a look at how these two seemingly separate technologies can work hand in hand .
First things first the rapid growth of video and other streaming content creates an almost perfect venue for blockchain to improve the security underpinning streaming. As was painfully demonstrated during the sudden shift from in-person to online instruction and meetings, some of the current streaming platforms do not have the necessary security to safeguard conversations and meetings. Blockchain, by its very nature, was designed to encrypt and secure information, and so using it as the foundation for new streaming services is not as far fetched as it might initially appear.
Second, the divisibility of crypto – most famously demonstrated by bitcoin but a fundamental component of any cryptoasset – means that micropayments and other forms of streaming based compensation actually make sense. Developments like the lightning network, payment channels, and other off-chain transactions have been pushing blockchain in this direction for several years already. As streaming services continue to proliferate and expand in almost every area, the need for a payment mechanism that works for this space is a must have.
Lastly, the global and decentralized nature of how permissionless blockchains and many crypto function and are governed aligns perfectly with the idea of streaming services. Both the internet and blockchain were designed with the idea of opening borders, lowering barriers, and democratizing access to information and resources. Blockchain and crypto are borderless and, to date, are not governed nor controlled by any centralized authority. Streaming allows individuals and institutions to interact and share on a global basis; blockchain and crypto have the potential to make doing so financially sustainable and viable for anyone, anywhere.
The rise of streaming services and organizations mirrors the development of blockchain and crypto at large. Both enable individuals and institutions to share, communicate, and interact with anyone, anywhere, on a global basis. Taking the next step for content production and compensation might just be a perfect opportunity for blockchain, crypto, and streaming to grow together.